Virginia fisherman spots ‘huge’ shark eating rotting whale carcass: ‘Here comes Jaws’

Returning to the Virginia Beach shore following an afternoon of fishing with friends, Jonathan Carter was sure the floating mass off in the distance was a tipped over sailboat.

“We were trying to beat the weather and had heard the Coast Guard throughout the day trying to contact a sailboat,” Carter recalled to Fox News on Tuesday. As the group closed in on the object, however, Carter realized it wasn’t a boat at all. It was the carcass of a massive whale.

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“We took a look at it on our way in; it was a dead whale,” Carter said, noting the creature’s intestines were floating alongside its body and the stench coming off the animal “smelled like rotting fish.”

The stench coming from the rotting whale "smelled like rotting fish," Carter said.

The stench coming from the rotting whale "smelled like rotting fish," Carter said. (Jonathan Carter)

Just moments later, the Newport-News resident noticed a sharp dorsal fin heading toward the whale, a “huge” great white shark encroaching upon what was possibly its next meal.

“We pulled up to it to check it out and here comes Jaws,” he said.

To the fisherman’s surprise, a second but smaller great white shark headed toward the carcass as well. Carter said the sharks appeared to be calm and weren’t aggressive with one another -- possibly because the large carcass meant there “was plenty to go around for everyone,” he said.

Other boats and fisherman soon approached the creature, one of whom – Mark Sterling – was called by Carter himself.

Cater said the first of the two great white sharks was "huge."

Cater said the first of the two great white sharks was "huge." (Jonathan Carter)

"It was badly deteriorated," Sterling told The Virginian-Pilot of the whale, estimating it was 50-feet in length.

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“I’ve never seen something like this before, and I’ve been on the water a lot,” Carter said, adding he’s seen both great white sharks and whales in the past but has never witnessed the former eating the latter.

“It was pretty cool," he added.